Friday, February 14, 2020

A Trip Down Memory Lane: 7 Dating Stories on This Valentine's Day


The One Where I Trick Him Into Asking Me to the Dance

Me, Anne and Buddy - hatching a plan!

When Phil and I first met, in Austria in January 2000, I was dating a boy from home.  I told Phil about him pretty quickly, and didn't think much of it, as Phil and I were friends but I didn't think there were any romantic feelings involved.  A few days later, I heard myself telling my roommate that I wanted to marry a guy like Phil.  It shocked me, as the guy I was dating was very unlike Phil.  I realized that I had to break up with him, because if he was not marriage material, then what was I doing?  So I did, by phone, because I was in Austria and he was in college in Maine (one of my biggest regrets in life was ending a 3 year relationship over the phone - mea culpa).  I definitely hoped deep down that something would develop with Phil, and I made sure he knew that I was now single.  Phil's a shy guy, and there was a Valentine's dance coming up, so my roommate and I hatched a plan to get Phil to ask me.  We would have another guy friend ask her in front of Phil and I, and she would say "Well, I don't want to go if Colleen doesn't go" and then Phil would have the opportunity to jump in and ask me.  It worked like a charm!  (Ummm, after typing this out I'm not sure if Phil even knows he was tricked into asking me to the dance?  Sorry Phil!)  He did bring me a dozen red roses before the dance (he didn't know that red roses = love but all the girls did!) so I'm pretty sure he wanted to go with me ;)

Our first Valentine's Day together - twenty years ago!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Being a Mom: From Pimples to Pampers and Everything In Between

While I will always and forever tell young mothers, busy juggling babies and toddlers, that "It gets easier", I am realizing that what gets easier is the physical part of parenting.  The emotional part of parenting never gets easier, and in my humble opinion, only gets harder.

But that's not what an exhausted, hungry, struggling mom wants to hear.  She wants to hear that these days that she is finding so hard to get through, the nights of broken sleep that feel torturous, the hours spent changing diapers and wiping drool, will indeed get better.  She wants to know that she will sleep through the night again, her kids will become potty trained and physically independent, and her days will be much smoother.  

So that's why I say "It gets easier!  You're in the trenches right now!  What you are doing is hard work and sacrifice, and it will pay off!  You're doing great!"

That's what young moms NEED to hear.  They need to feel understood and not like they're unfit for the job thrust upon them.  

Time marches on, and those busy toddlers turn into busier teens, who now have us worrying about their choices in life, their safety on the road, the friends with whom they keep company.  We watch them succeed and fail, get heartbroken and break hearts, be smart and be stupid.  And we feel it all too.  As much as you empathize with your baby's cry when they skin their knee for the first time, you literally ache for your grown children's pains. Their hearts are still united to yours.

I think older moms NEED to hear that they are not alone, that as the physical dependency lessens as kids grow...the worry and emotional stress grows as well.  It's normal.  It's not you, it's them. Somebody give me a hug and tell me this, please ;)

Monday, February 3, 2020

The Struggle of a Nosy Oversharer

I want to write about every detail in my life.  Ever since I was a little girl, I loved writing in a diary, keeping a memory book, or making photo albums.  I love to record memories.  

I'm a oversharer, most likely.  

I need to write or talk in order to process.  Sometimes I wish I could just be a thinker and stay in my own head, but the written/spoken word is a necessity to help me move on from anything.

And I need to know everything from you, as well.  

In real life, if you told me you went on a date, had a baby, just came back from vacation, saw an old frenemy...I would say "Tell me EVERYTHING!"  My husband likes to imitate this line of mine with a dramatic hand flair for effect.  I like to ask a lot of questions and get a lot of answers.  Some may consider that nosy.  I tend to think I'm just an empathetic soul.

I want my kids to share all of their thoughts, feelings, hardships and joys with me.  I am lucky so far that they seem to communicate well with me.  Maybe because I ask so many questions?  Maybe because they know they can't get away with just a "fine" answer.

And then when they do share with me...I want to talk about it.  I want to write about what's going on in their lives, what we're all learning as they grow up.  I want to understand them better by collecting my thoughts on paper.

But the older they get, the less right I have to share their tales.  I don't want to embarrass them on a deep level.  I don't want them to not trust me.  I don't want them to think they are just fuel for my fodder.

So I keep it inside, ponder it in my heart and head, and talk to my husband only.

Because of this, you'll mostly hear cute and funny stories about my little guys and approved highlight reels about my oldest ones.  I want to write more!  I want to read about it more!  I want the wisdom from moms who have dealt with teenager issues.  

I've just realized that I can't find that here.  Those relationships happen face to face, not over social media, in comments, on blog posts.  

My relationship cup that used to fill up with every story shared, or photo needs a more intentional growing of friendships.  The introvert in me who was happy to stay at home and communicate via screens, now longs for deeper relationships that require me to leave the house.  

I'm trying to figure all of this out, while realizing that the blogs I used to follow for mothering advice, got increasingly quiet as the kids aged up.  I get it now.  I do.  As much as I would love to hear from them on raising teens and young adults, those stories aren't necessarily theirs to share anymore.  

But gosh, I'd love to go grab a cup of coffee with one of them and chit chat for hours.  Maybe I am just nosy after all.

Hopefully one day, after these babies of mine are grown and having babies of their own, they will welcome my stories and enjoy reminiscing with me.  I don't want to chance ruining that future relationship by oversharing in the present.  I love them too much.

Friday, January 31, 2020

7QT: Taxes, Crazy Hair, Kobe Bryant #girldad, Science Fair and Superbowl


It's the last day of January!!  That means it's time to start your taxes!  Woo-hoo!!  I love using TaxAct to file our taxes.  It's easy and cheap and stress-free.  I used to do taxes for a living, and they're not scary to do yourself, unless you're self-employed, then you should go see a professional.  But if you're just dealing with W2s, it's fun and simple.  Try it and see :)


This week was Catholic School's Week, which meant a lot of dressing down and thanking God for the normal uniform routine.  Picking clothes out is stressful!  Maggie's hair for crazy hair day was my fave look of the week:

Thank you Google for that idea!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

January 2020: Book, Cook, Look

Here's what I've been reading, eating, and wearing lately!


The St. Paul Company (Dr. Scott Hahn's company) sent me a copy of The Attic Saint to review, and it was a big hit.  

I must admit, even my 8 year old kept walking back and forth as I was reading to the little guys, trying to listen in without appearing to want to.  My 12 year old gladly sat nearby and listened as well.  Even I was intrigued about the story, not something you can say about most children's books!  The story is about a boy, whose family moves into an old convent, and he finds an icon of St. Ambrose in the attic that helps make his new house feel like a home.  The best part was that once the book was over, I told 5-year-old Declan (who was reeeeeally into the story) that I had something special for him, and handed him the St. Ambrose icon prayer card, and he was thrilled!  We went up to his bedroom and hung it up right away in a spot that he can look at when he falls asleep.  I have purchased icons from this online store before, and can't wait to reread this book as it gets closer to Easter, and have icons for the kids in the Easter basket this year. 


After Jen Fulwiler suggested this cookbook, we have been trying to make a couple new soups each month.

Phil and I eat soup every workday during the school year, so I make a big pot on the weekend, divide it up into these glass containers, and we grab them each morning, along with a greek yogurt.  It's a great way to get in our veggies, homemade bone broth, dairy and protein.  Recently I discovered these protein chips that taste very similar to Doritos, and if a soup recipe doesn't contain much protein, then I will eat it with the protein chips as well.  For the month of January, I've been having a daily shake as an afternoon snack, made up of protein powder, collagen, psylium husk powder, spinach, blueberries and vanilla unsweetened almond milk.  It hits the spot and helps me from snacking on crackers before dinner. Why are crackers always calling my name at 4pm?


I bought this cute dress for the Spring for less than $17 and a sweet rose colored cardigan to wear now for only $13.  

I just love Loft Outlet sales.  I am looking at rice cookers as well, as we seem to be eating it more often as a side, but I do have an Instapot already, so I'm wondering if it's worth having another appliance?  Or does the Instapot do a good job of cooking rice?  I'm just sick of it sticking to the pot when I cook it on the stove.  Any rice advice appreciated :)

Tuesday, January 28, 2020